What Science Can Learn from the Arts

Scientists should engage with designers for utilitarian reasons, to communicate with the public because they understand the natural world through metaphor. He basically advocates sci-fi as a way of expanding the mind. Things are complex and they cost a lot of investigate. 11 dimensions can't...

The Art of Teaching Science

The Art of Teaching Science emphasizes a humanistic, experiential, and constructivist approach to teaching and learning, and integrates a wide variety of pedagogical tools. Becoming a science teacher is a creative process, and this innovative textbook encourages students to construct ideas about science teaching through...

Experts to Explore the ‘Art of Science Learning’

I've written a few times about making connections between teaching the arts and sciences (and fellow STEM fields). Well, with support from the National Science Foundation, three conferences planned for this spring will explore how the arts can be tapped to strengthen STEM skills and...

Americans for the Arts Talks Creativity

Increasingly, many states are talking about our "jobless recovery" and the vital role the arts can play in preparing the 21st century workforce. Indeed, the California Alliance for Arts Education and The California Arts Council are in agreement: "creativity and innovation...

METAPHORMING and the Art of Science Learning

Art has a way of pointing things out through implicit picture-statements that express our intuitions. These are the primary physical and conceptual ‘‘vehicles of imagination’’ that move us through the windows, doors, and open highways of our metaphors. Naturally, science does its share of pointing,...

Fluid Sculpture – Science and Art Integration

The concept of STEM to STEAM continues to catch on across the country. Regardless what many short sighted members about the value of arts education, they miss the point. Art is a key element in producing well balanced approches to STEM. The sheer nature of...

Amazing Magnetic Art Sculpture – Where Science and Art Dance

Ferrofluid is a very interesting material originally developed by NASA it has now found itself been used for a whole range of devices including dampers for controlling and stabilizing large building that move around in the wind. Whats also amazing is that they have such...

STEM and STEAM Education – White House

Research shows that the arts and support crucial developmental skills in creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication. The Arts are also a part of that Autodesk Animation Academy curriculum. Immerse students in science, math, language, arts, and technology with Autodesk® 3ds Max® or Autodesk® Maya®...

NSTA Reports – Reaching Students Through STEM and the Arts

NSTA Reports—Debra Shapirostudent doing art: NASA Stennis Space Center

Teachers of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are discovering that by adding an “A”—the arts—to STEM, learning will pick up STEAM. “Students remember science learning situations that contain multi-sensory, hands-on activities or experiments,” which the arts can bring to science lessons, says Dawn Renee Wilcox, science coordinator for the Spotsylvania County School District in Fredericksburg, Virginia. “The arts are also useful for helping students make transitions and connections between science content or concepts through thought and expression.”

“Allowing students to use artistic methods to show their understanding of a concept, event, or object will elicit a wider range of student responses and participation,” says Inez Liftig, eighth-grade science teacher at Fairfield Woods Middle School in Fairfield, Connecticut, and field editor for NSTA’s middle level journal, Science Scope. “To understand the nature and role of science, it is important to compare and contrast it to other areas of study to see similarities and overlaps and differences. Looking at the history and development of all subject areas shows how knowledge, STEM, and the arts are all part of society and reflect the society of different periods in history,” she explains.

Liftig believes combining science and the arts “also lets students see how both of these have been and still are quests to examine and explain the world around us…Students see that curiosity, creativity, imagination, and attention to detail are traits common to artists/writers and scientists.”

The STEAM Movement: It’s About More Than Hot Air

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Photo courtesy of BAVC
Arguably one of the biggest movements in education over the last decade is what is more commonly referred to as STEM education. It seems that everywhere you turn these days: granting organization initiatives to political platforms, White House campaigns and for-profit and non-profit programs are all talking about the importance of STEM education. How does this movement relate to the media arts and does it reflect the current needs of students in K-12 education? What happens when you add the letter “A” to STEM? It’s about more than simply creating the word STEAM.

What is STEM education?
STEM education refers to the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. It is an educational initiative that is supported at both the national and state levels, from governments to foundations and scholars alike.

Why STEM?
Many assessments of K-12 students over the last several years have indicated that the United States is falling significantly behind other countries when it comes to student performance, and interest in, STEM subject areas. The argument for STEM education is that if the United States continues to lag behind other countries in educating its students in what are deemed necessary 21st century workforce skills in science, technology and most importantly innovation, then the consequences for the economic and political power of the United States may be dire.

Who supports STEM?
It would seem that nearly everyone in the United States supports the STEM movement. Most recently, President Obama launched the Educate to Innovate initiative to support STEM education in K-12 schools. This initiative also includes partnerships and collaborations with for-profit companies, non-profit organizations, foundations and schools. STEM education is also endorsed by a growing list of academic and science and research-based organizations throughout the country. One of the most complete lists of organizations who endorse STEM education can be found through the STEM Education Coalition’s website. Perhaps most importantly, STEM is increasingly being touted in political candidates’ education platforms for the upcoming election year.

How is STEM related to the media arts?
Nationally, two organizations specifically, have launched STEM education initiatives that coincide with President Obama’s Educate to Innovate campaign, both of which incorporate the media arts.

The first is Time Warner Cable’s Connect a Million Minds initiative, which is “a five-year $100 million dollar philanthropic initiative designed to increase students’ awareness and skills in STEM-related fields specifically through the exploration of different media forms.”  Recently, Time Warner has launched the first of a series of programs they refer to as “Crack the Codes” as a part of their overall Connect a Million Minds initiative. Launched in late March of this year, the first program was entitled “Cracking the Codes in the Digital World” and was designed to show K-12 students the science behind broadcast technology through on-site visits and meetings with Time Warner staff.